Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
Nick Smith has called for Government action on betting machines after it was revealed people in Blaenau Gwent lost nearly £1.5m to them in one year.
The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals allow gamblers to bet up to £100 a time on games that mimic slot machines or casinos.
But figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling have shown that in 2016, people lost £1,468,754 in FOBT machines in Blaenau Gwent.
Between 2008 and 2016, £9,950,588 was lost in borough FOBTs.
Mr Smith has joined Labour colleagues in calling on the Government to reduce the maximum stake to £2.
Speaking after the latest Digital Culture Media and Sport question session, where Labour again called for action, Mr Smith said it was important to protect gamblers.
“It is irresponsible to not take steps to protect people who are emptying vast amounts of money into these machines,” he said.
“It takes seconds to bet £100 on FOBTs, then a few seconds later you can do it all over again. That’s frightening when you think of how important that money could be to gamblers’ daily lives and the lives of their families.
“This is a world away from a flutter on the Grand National or betting as a healthy bit of fun within your limits.
“The Government have dragged their heels on this for far too long. Their review has been met with delays upon delays. It’s time to take real action.”
A total of £5.875m was inserted into the 43 FOBTs in Blaenau Gwent in 2016 and £31.6m of bets were made.
For more information on the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and the Blaenau Gwent statistics, visit http://www.stopthefobts.org/